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Erin

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Erin last won the day on November 4

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  1. So you're saying sponge (the animal) is a countable noun whereas sponge (the material or substance) is an uncountable noun? If so, I agree with you.
  2. First, I took some quick notes of what I think are some of the logical flaws. I'll paste these here; maybe they'll help someone. The main flaw of this argument, and probably many Analyses of an argument, is that it simplifies an exceedingly complex subject (nutrition science). Now, let's take a look at your writing. ¶1: I would suggest stating some of the flaws rather than summarizing the goal of the paragraph. Ie, this sentence: The author of the passage seems keen to present Paleo diets as having been developed through sacred wisdom of our forefathers and as a sure shot remedy for many diseases. doesn't really pull its own weight. ¶2: Small thing, but your writing is really good, so I'm sort of reaching for straws here: This implies--for academic writing I think that often the word this should be followed by the noun it refers to. In other words, make the pronoun referent explicit (rather than implied). I assume you mean something like This predictable and established adaptation. ¶3: Missing word, missing period, and one suggestion: But that is ignored by the author, hastily proceeds to commend the ancient knowledge of our ancestors and conclude that it is a cure for many chronic illnesses > But that shortcoming is ignored by the author, who hastily proceeds to commend the ancient knowledge of our ancestors and conclude that it is a cure for many chronic illnesses. Also, I'm not sure we can call the practices of our ancestors 'knowledge', as they may have simply acted based on what was available to them, not necessarily on some sort of wisdom built up over generations. ¶4: I would like to see this argument presented in a bit more detail--just state why replicating their diet may not work. Eg, our bodies are different now, the foods aren't really the same, either, there are toxins in the environment, etc. Here I might also mention that our early ancestors may not have actually had long life spans, so there may be very little that we'd want to replicate from their lifestyles. Overall, strong writing and analysis.
  3. @April M Which part of the TOEFL gets harder for you over time? Do you have to take the iBT version of the TOEFL? From your post, it appears you're living and working in the US, so you should have a lot of practice with English by now. Just curious about what it's like as a non-native speaker of English living in the US.
  4. So the game was rigged? We'll never know, will we? Wow, @Vaya posted that almost 20 years ago. Crazy. I still remember her. Good kid, LOL.
  5. This is the essay that was posted: I OCR'd the essay to make it easier to read and give feedback on: @brcewolffFirst, the good news: You show a pretty high level of ability in writing in most parts of your essay! You have a lot of complex sentences and strong reasoning. To improve: The #1 thing is that this essay is a bit off-topic. You're basically writing about the quality/rigor of education available to students in the US, not the actual curriculum. This essay prompt asks you whether every student in the US should study exactly the same material for their entire education. For example, every ninth grader would start English class by reading, say Huckleberry Finn, not a novel of the teacher's choosing or some other topic. And every high school graduate will have taken the same mixture of math, history, science, PE, etc. throughout their school years. Second, please try to pay attention to common English punctuation conventions. Your readability isn't really affected, but not capitalizing proper nouns (eg, united states) isn't a good look for an important essay. Another related example--you wrote The swiss, the Netherlands, Japan, and China. First of course, you need to uppercase Swiss. Second, you should list these nationalities using the same part of speech (ie, make them parallel), so you could either say The Swiss, Dutch, Japanese, and Chinese or Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, and China. A couple more grammar/punctuation areas to focus on: college. private => college. Private. Be sure to uppercase the first letter of a sentence. Schools that are private, do not need to rely on the money of taxpayers. => Change Schools that are private to Private schools. Get rid of the comma after private (no comma between the subject and verb for this construction). Consider shortening money of taxpayers to taxpayers' money or even just taxes. There are a few more errors as well, but hopefully you get the idea. Not sure whether Grammarly would pick up all the errors; I plugged the writing into a couple of online grammar checkers (Grammarly and Prowritingaid), and they didn't get even some of the most obvious ones. Also, you should write this essay without your personal experience; cite instead common information (even though you won't have access to research tools while writing for the GRE). Final observation: You've basically written a persuasive essay here, not an expository one. Be sure to know the differences! You need to write in a more neutral, analytical way, as if you were analyzing all the evidence and presenting a conclusion or recommendation.
  6. I thought it might be helpful to have a reference for common terms and questions about college admissions. Note that many of these terms apply to high school admissions as well. test-optional (TO): If a school is test-optional, that means that the school doesn't require you to submit standardized test scores, but will consider them if you do decide to submit them. Test-blind schools and colleges are very common in the US right now--more than 75%, according to Inside Higher Ed (retrieved 2021-11-06). Note that many schools or programs swear up and down that they can effectively evaluate you as a candidate even without admissions test scores, but frankly, that's just not true. A test score almost always adds an extra dimension to your applications and therefore, also adds a measure of confidence about making a decision whether to admit, reject, or waitlist. Tips: The general rule is to submit a score if it's higher than the average of that school. And yes, statistically, people who submit test scores have a higher chance of admission (but that's also partly because people who choose to submit scores tend to have higher scores). test-blind (TB): If a school is test-blind, that means they won't look at your test scores when they make their decision about whether to admit you. As of 2021-11-02, there are only 86 US colleges that are test blind (according to Fair Test; retrieved 2021-11-06), which is about 2% of all US colleges (there are about 4,000 colleges in the US). However, the University of California, one of the largest and most prestigious college systems in the US, notably went test-blind in 2020 because of COVID-19 and growing concerns over access to testing and test prep. And at least in San Francisco, California, the percentage of high schools that are test blind is higher. LoR: Letter of recommendation. Some programs require or request these. Tip: In the US, it's generally preferred to have an LoR from someone who knows you well, not necessarily someone famous. (Students sometimes say I can get a letter of recommendation from the mayor of Springfield/governor of ABC province, so I'm guaranteed to get in, right? No, you're not ever guaranteed, and a letter like that would look… let's say insincere to be polite.) early decision (ED): Many US colleges have an 'early decision' option to apply. This option gives you the chance to find out early whether you got in. How much earlier? Well, for Stanford, it's a full 3.5 months early--Dec 15 for ED vs April 1 (as of 2021-11-08) for RD. Note that a December result is considered pretty early, as it's before many deadlines. So if you don't get in ED, you could still have time to apply RD for other schools. So what's the kicker? Well, traditionally, you're supposed to apply to only one college early decision. The idea is that a specific college is your first choice, so you should apply to that college ED. Oh, one more important factor--if you get in, you're supposed to accept; you can't change your mind. This type of application is called binding. (See this document for more information on binding decisions.) Also, for a couple of good reasons (including so-called yield), people who apply ED have a slightly higher chance of gaining admission. In other words, the acceptance rate for ED applications is higher than that for RD applications. So what if you don't get in? Well, basically there are three types of notifications: one, you're admitted. Two, you're rejected. Three, they can't make a decision, so they defer you to the RD pool of applicants. Finally, ED is pretty popular, and a most students I've worked with or known apply to one college ED if it's offered. (The University of California, for example, does not have early decision.) early action (EA): single-choice early action (SCEA): restrictive early action (REA): binding: If you apply to a college with a binding decision, that means you are bound to attend that university if they accept you. And conversely, they are bound to admit you if you accept. Tautological, I know. But it's a two-way agreement, technically. So you're supposed to attend if you apply with a binding decision and they offer you admission. Note that you're supposed to attend before you find out their financial aid offer, so if that's a concern, you may not want to apply with a binding decision. And you may be wondering what happens if you back out of your agreement. Well, it's not 100% clear (people wonder whether one college will tell another), but the standard advice is that you should uphold your agreement unless something changes drastically, like your visa was revoked or you decide not to attend college for some reason. Repercussions if you back out of your agreement: It's hard to imagine college cops banging on your door, so in reality, not much would actually happen. However, it's possible that if you got into a really good university (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, etc.), then that college has talked to your counselor, and your counselor gave you a good recommendation. In this case, the counselor might get some blowback because she recommended you. Why does this matter? This could hurt the reputation of your recommender with those colleges. non-binding: This is the most common type of application to send in--you apply to a college, and if they admit you, you will think about whether or not you want to attend. In other words, you're not obligated to attend if you don't want to, for example, if you got a better offer of financial aid at a college you really like. regular-decision (RD): personal statement (PS): Also called admissions essay. This is just a very broad term that refers to the writing you do for your application to college or graduate school. It's also very common to talk about the essays using the name of the platform the college uses, for example, the Common App essay. statement of purpose (SoP): A statement of purpose is more common for graduate school, and it generally highlights your qualifications, what you plan to do in the program, future career goals, etc. gap year: A gap year is simply taking a year off between high school and college. Many students do this (I did this, in fact) because they want to do a special program before they start college, while others just need a break before they start college. University of California These are specific to the University of California. PIQ: The personal insight questions. These are basically the responses to the main questions. They're not really considered essays, so we try not to call them essays. There are eight PIQs that you look at. From those eight, if you're not a transfer student, you pick four to write. The others, you just ignore.
  7. This is great, intelligent, educated English. Loved reading it! For the GRE writing, I would make the following suggestions: First, at least for me, the big question is whether college students should specialize in one area of study or be introduced to subjects they may not otherwise learn about. Both approaches have great benefits. On the one hand, a future software engineer may not really need to learn Art History. But who knows whether that particular body of knowledge will make her more creative in problem-solving? On the other hand, college graduates today may end up changing careers several times in their lives; maybe a more well-rounded education best suits the needs of this group. Also, you can't really talk about this matter without addressing the costs, in terms of both money and time, of one approach over the other. In the US, an education can put graduating students in debt that will take years to pay off. ($200,000 is not unheard of for doctors, for example.) And perhaps society would be better off graduating more skilled professionals more quickly and economically for a particular task than adding a year or two to their education; if we have a shortage of, say, psychologists right now, maybe have a psychology-only track to get those students out and practicing. It's a complex issue! Especially in the US. Some minor points that I noticed as I was reading: > The above statement throws light Technically, the statement is really only a statement; it doesn't provide more information on the issue, right? > Clarity in this regard is absolutely essential and has stoked the interests of public policy experts, educationalists and academic institutions for a long time. I'm being picky, but this is a bit of a throw-away sentence, as it doesn't add to your argument and feels boilerplate. I prefer the sentence that follows it. > the skills required for dexterous application I think of dexterity as involving skill with the hands, as a magician might want to achieve. > identify the complimentary fields of studies Use the other complementary. Just think of the related word complete to remember this one. > it is the student who should be given the freedom to choose and any form of paternalism in this regard must be eliminated This is a great point. However, you may want to address its counterargument--that young students have less understanding of the type of education that will benefit them (and society) in the long term. It's vital to have a clear stance and not just say that it's important to evaluate the options carefully. The original essay for preservation:
  8. Sure thing! This is a nice piece of writing. There were a couple other minor grammar errors, too. Eg, I would say undergirded by, and Does God exist. Please note that in the US at least, the Christian god is referred to as God, with an uppercase g.
  9. Not sure what you mean to do with implicate. Maybe , implying or , suggesting I think it would be good to expand on what technique could be used to communicate effectively. reflect perhaps? We don't really use retrospect as a verb in the US. Not 100% sure about other Englishes. Comments: This is a nicely reasoned essay. I agree that people often feel threatened and therefore become defensive. I also think that most people see themselves as reasonable, despite what we see in the media, and would be more willing to entertain opposing views if their interlocutor took a more neutral and perhaps even curious approach.
  10. Erin

    Spam and scams

    We get a lot of spam on the forum, and some of the attempts are pretty funny. Some of what I get on my Whatsapp account: I'm really tempted to engage, but not sure how risky it would be.
  11. And here comes the bot-sequence follow-up.
  12. We've been working on our HSPT course lately, and there's a lot of good and new information that's not covered in the popular books for sale on Amazon and other booksellers. First, please know that many of the free HSPT tests that you can find online are inaccurate and don't represent the kind of material that's actually on the HSPT; some questions are too hard, others too easy, and still others are just way off base and wouldn't appear on the actual HSPT. Here's an example of one of the more challenging words to show up on the HSPT: a gossamer structure a) gauzy b) sturdy c) costly d) colossal (Tip: Notice that the context in the question stem doesn't give any clues to the meaning of the vocabulary word.) Answer: Just click below.
  13. Yes, quite a lot. Not sure whether that's related to GRE vocabulary, though.
  14. I'm experimenting with some changes to the editor. For example, I notice that a lot of posts are formatted in a way that doesn't quite match our own formatting. For example, the font color or font are different. I believe that some people post in other forums, and then post here. In this case, they'd be copying their post on another site, and pasting here. This isn't a huge deal, but from the back end, I see a lot of font tags, size tags, and color tags. I thought it might be cleaner just to strip all formatting when text is pasted from the member's clipboard. Here's the relevant setting: I can change it back; it's not a huge deal. But I wanted to post here in case anyone had an opinion on it.
  15. When I teach a large class, there will always be a few students who make this mistake. Basically, they skim the question, and then when they get to a good answer, they just stop, without reading the other answer choices. Crazy, right? So, always read EVERYTHING--from the beginning of the question to the end of (E) The problem: The correct answer is E, but the student chooses the second best answer choice instead because she assumed that it was correct and didn't feel like reading all the answer choices. Or, the student thinks she has a good idea of what the question is asking and skips over a word or two, causing her to miss the question. The solution: Read carefully (but as quickly as possible) from the very beginning of the question stem to the very end of the last answer choice. More information: We see this too frequently: A student is working through a question, let’s say a Critical Reading question, and seems to have a clear understanding of what the question is asking and how to get the right answer. We are happy because the student is doing well, and we wait with happy anticipation for the student to choose the right answer, which in this case happens to be E. As she is working through she eliminates two or three of the wrong answer choices, and then lands on an answer she thinks is correct, which happens to be D, the second best answer choice. Thinking D to be correct, and not feeling like reading E, she chooses D and gets the question wrong. We are crestfallen. This happens too much, so please be aware of the problem and don't let it happen to you! Read all of the question and all of the answer choices, even if you think you have found the answer in A, B, C, or D.
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